ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 16: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic is pumped up after a shot against the Atlanta Hawks during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Of the Hawks strategy, Pruiti writes:
The Hawks were determined to stick to the game plan, and that is what they did. Not doubling and sending late digs (which were so late it was like they weren’t even there) allowed Howard to go off, but when the Magic aren’t hitting threes, they aren’t as effective. The Hawks know that, and they were committed to allowing Dwight to go off as long as the three point shooters didn’t get anything going.
After watching this Atlanta team the entire season, I came away very impressed that they executed their game plan flawlessly and stuck with it even when Howard was rolling offensively. After 31 first half points, it would have been easy to change mid-stream and send the double team. Particularly when they were down to options No. 3 (Etan Thomas) and No. 4 (Josh Powell) guarding him. Be sure and check out the entire post as Pruiti offers an excellent break down as always.